I love putting up food. I spend long hot hours canning jams and pickles, I can ferment with the best of them but lately I have been putting in a lot of quality time with my dehydrator. Dehydrated food is a powerful ingredient in a travel food pantry. After long days and many miles food is usually the only thing on your mind, and its important. We can't expect to our bodies to love us if we don't fuel them right.
Dehydrated food is not only awesome because it packs small and light, it also can add a gourmet touch to an otherwise repetitious bowl of couscous or oatmeal, adding tons of favor and nutrients.
When done right dehydrating your own food can allow you to pack gourmet meals without raising the grocery bill. Harvesting tons of free local food in season and then storing it throughout the coming year can mean major savings.
Right now in my pantry I have the last of the previous summers chanterelle mushrooms, hot peppers and tomatoes, my mouth starts to water thinking about a quick pilaf studded with those goodies gathered in seasons past.
A bowl of oatmeal packed with persimmons, mulberries and star fruit, sounds killer but it also full of fiber, potassium, magnesium, protein, iron, vitamin c, b- vitamins and more.
I can not praise my dehyrdator enough for is contribution to lowering my food cost and allowing me to indulge in my favorite foods out of season and on the road.
I recommend a dehyrator with a horizontal fan and a temperature setting. I have an Excalibur, and I highly recommend it. I would just dive right in, gather a bunch of fresh herbs from your garden or ask a neighbor if you can raid their loquat tree. Lay the herbs/fruit or veg in a single layer and rotate often. In the south the humidity can quickly spoil the finished product if it is not all the way dried. If you have the space and plan on storing for a long time, storing them in the refridgerator can help ward off mold. I store in tightly sealed mason jars and keep a vigilant eye out for spoilage.